NC General Assembly passes House Bill 951 in midnight session

“There’s nothing good going on after midnight that you need to be part of,” my momma repeatedly told me. She was right. Our legislators would do well to heed that advice.  No legislation passed after midnight is good for most of our state. Exhibit A is House Bill 951, passed by a 7-vote margin at 12:01 a.m.  

Why the dark-of-night shenanigans? Why did this bill require negotiation behind closed doors? Why do we even need HB 951? No wonder a legion of groups lined up to oppose the bill; some are normal antagonists with each other. 

Nobody has yet made the case why we need HB 951. It circumvents the regulatory rate authority of the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission. Instead of Duke coming to the Commission to ask for a rate increase every year, HB 951 would allow them to set their rates three years at a time. A similar measure was defeated last year. Why try to cram it through again? OK, there is too long a time lag between the date rate hikes are requested and a decision is reached — typically 270 days. A better use of everyone’s time would be to consider how to shorten that timeline while ensuring adequate public protections.  

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